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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the CWA International Dagger
In kidnapping cases, the first few hours are crucial. After that, the chances of being found alive go from slim to nearly none. Alex Prevost – beautiful, resourceful, tough – may be no ordinary victim, but her time is running out. Commandant Camille Verhoeven and his detectives have nothing to go on: no suspect, no lead, rapidly diminishing hope.
All they know is that a girl was snatched off the streets of Paris and bundled into a white van. The enigma that is the fate of Alex will keep Verhoeven guessing until the bitter, bitter end. And before long, saving her life will be the least of his worries.
©2011 Éditions Albin Michel, Paris (P)2013 Quercus Publishing PLC
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Critic Reviews

“Grippingly original . . . It enthralls at every stage of its unpredictability” (The Times)
“The book moves from read-as-fast-as-you-can horror to an intricately plotted race to a dark truth” (Guardian)
"Harsh, fierce crime writing with a Gauloise tinge. It would not be out of place filmedin black-and-white by the late, lamented Francois Truffaut" (Daily Mail)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Ole-Jørn Borum on 04-02-15

Brutal and addictive

If you can stomach the violence, this is a wonderful twist on the crime genre. French noir, thumbs up from Norway.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Alex on 09-19-13

Trying too hard to shock

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

Early teenage horror fans.

Would you ever listen to anything by Pierre Lemaitre and Frank Wynne again?


Which character – as performed by David Rintoul – was your favourite?

All were caricatures. David Rintoul is a good actor and narrator, if maybe a little over effusive at times, but even he couldn't do anything with the joke characters in this book.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Head shaking disappointment.

Any additional comments?

After reading other reviews I was a bit wary of this book, but I decided to risk it if for no other than the title was my own name.Child abuse seems to be the current vogue in crime books. Despicable enough in itself, but the author seemed to throw in every 'yeuch' element he could to move the book closer to horror than crime fiction. The more he tried to shock the more pathetic the book became and the more apathetic I became to the plot and characters. Do police forces not have a minimum height requirement any more? A 4' 11'' cop with a famous artist mother? Really? An extreme fatso cop in designer duds that women find attractive for some reason (never explained)? A cop with so much money that four future generations will be able to live comfortably on his wealth, but is working as a cop? The quirks just kept on coming, and THEN we had the crimes. People tortured and killed in ways that would make The Abominable Dr. Phibes seem like a benevolent uncle? Trash.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

By Venetia on 09-13-13

Absolutely gripping

Would you listen to Alex again? Why?

Yes without a doubt. The plot was beautifully crafted and the characters were very complete. Also the storyline was gripping from beginning to end.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I didn't have a favourite character. They were all crucial to the plot.

What does David Rintoul bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

He is a brilliant narrator.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I was pulling my fingernails out at the beginning.

Any additional comments?

If you like thrillers you MUST read this. Be prepared for the beginning, it's not for the feint-hearted. A bit gruesome but after that it is tamer!

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By ZAP22 on 11-13-16

Terrible Storytelling

What disappointed you about Alex?

The novel disappoints on several counts. It lacks compassion, deriving a kind of ghoulish delight in dealing with difficult themes such as sadism, mutilation, disfigurement. It lacks an intelligent plot. The characters are sketched without care; they bumble on in a world that lacks a social contour, maiming and chopping at each other without having a compelling reason to do so. The scenes of violence would remind one of the equally vacuous so called French 'Cinema of the Body'. The author exerts minimum social and cultural accountability, is disparaging towards women and towards the values of a multi-cultural world. And, the writing is stilted, non-lyrical, predictable and prosaic.

What was most disappointing about Pierre Lemaitre and Frank Wynne ’s story?

Its a story that is meant to sell purely on its stomach-turning descriptions of blood, gore, sadism, mutilation, and violence against children. It has a banal plot. Its characters bland and boring. The writing is stilted, unimaginative, non-lyrical, pedantic.

What didn’t you like about David Rintoul’s performance?

He overacts. Creates a false sense of drama where there is none. Loud and noisy. The voice is so full of himself that you want to shut it down.

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

No redeeming qualities. How come it got published?

Any additional comments?

Never trust the Guardian's recommendations

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